View Full Version : New SSD - Beachballs everywhere!

13th September 2012, 01:08 PM
So I've just gone and installed a Sandisk Extreme 240GB SSD into my late-2008 MacBook Pro (MacBookPro5,1 from memory). After getting a huge boost from an SSD in my desktop machine, the SSD in my MacBook Pro has been decidedly underwhelming.

I don't know if it could be my Mac at fault, OS X, or just a dodgy SSD, but I'm getting beachballs quite regularly. Doesn't seem to be triggered by anything in particular. The system will just become unresponsive for maybe 10-15 seconds at a time, then go back to normal.
Boot up/shut down times are not fantastic for an SSD either, pretty comparable to the boot/shut-down times on the 7200rpm drive in there previously.

Has anyone else found issues with SSDs in this MacBook Pro, or maybe since installing Mountain Lion?

I'm going to try the same SSD in a Windows installation just to see if it exhibits the same symptoms, but just interested in whether others have had similar issues.

13th September 2012, 01:13 PM
It's probably fucked. That's not normal.

13th September 2012, 02:39 PM
I installed a Sandisk Extreme in my Mac mini and it works extremely well, without beachballs etc.

However, I put a Samsung 830 in my folks' late 2008 MBP 5,1 because the NVidia chipset does not play particularly well with Sandforce controllers (for example, the negotiated link speed is likely to be 1.5gbps on the Sandisk; on the Samsung my folks get the full 3gbps). The Samsung works well, with no beachballs (having 8GB of RAM in there helps too!).

So, try running Trim Enabler, check the firmware is up to date and, if worst comes to worst, take it back and get a Samsung...

13th September 2012, 03:17 PM
Thanks for the advice so far. I'd seen some threads on other forums where people had gone from Lion to ML and this kind of thing started happening, but it was probably a bung drive for them too :\

I did try TRIM enabler, which worked without issue, and updated the firmware as well, the issue persisted after that.
Guess it's an RMA.

Thanks again guys.

17th September 2012, 06:13 PM
I get the beach balls too - OWC ssd here. Much the same as you experience, but on Snow Leopard. Boot times and loading times are good, but yeah, 15 seconds or so lock-up with no rhyme or reason.
2.4Ghz early 2008 MBP, 4.1(?)

18th September 2012, 12:19 AM
If anyone is interested, I tested the drive by installing Windows in Boot Camp, Windows in a desktop machine, and Ubuntu in the desktop machine.
OS X was unresponsive randomly, and both Windows and Ubuntu failed to boot on either computer after the installation had completed.
I think it's a dud :P
Hopefully the retailer agrees with me and will exchange it.

24th December 2012, 04:45 PM
For anyone interested, I sent the drive back to ShoppingSquare (abysmal return support, will be avoiding them for anything this expensive in the future) and they say they have tested the drive in multiple systems, for a long period of time, and it is a perfectly healthy drive.

I've done a bit more reading around and read that the nvidia chipset in Late-08 Pros (and many other systems from the time) doesn't play nice with Sandforce controlled SSDs, so that might have been the problem.
They're sending it back, I guess I'll use it in my PC as a Steam drive or something.

Moral of this story: Avoid Sandforce based drives for late-08 MBPs I think.

25th December 2012, 11:52 AM
Yep sandforce based SSD's should be avoided in macs that use the nvidia chipset.

25th December 2012, 02:22 PM
Yep sandforce based SSD's should be avoided in macs that use the nvidia chipset.
So, exactly which nvidia chipsets are we talking about here?

26th December 2012, 11:32 PM
I'd also try a fresh install. Could just be a problem with the migration to the new drive.

27th December 2012, 12:16 AM
So, exactly which nvidia chipsets are we talking about here?

The Nvidia MCP79 chipset.

27th December 2012, 09:50 AM
Whats happening is the Late 2008 Macbook Unibody/Macbook Pros default the drive from SATA 3 to SATA 1.5.

Basic gist from what i can gather is the controller can not default down to SATA 2 so instead its halving itself from 3 to 1.5.

Causing the bottle neck.

If you check your system preferences you will probably see something like this...

NVidia MCP79 AHCI:

Vendor: NVidia
Product: MCP79 AHCI
Link Speed: 3 Gigabit
Negotiated Link Speed: 1.5 Gigabit
Description: AHCI Version 1.20 Supported


You can find older SATA2 drives that will work well with the machines. Rob from RamCity was selling a few recently, not sure if they have any left though.

Your basically have 3 options:

1. Put up with it, its going to suck but it will still work for most tasks.
2. Try and flash you SSD to a newer firmware (risky and a pain in the ass but it has fixed the issue for some people)
3. Stick the drive in the DVD bay. Your still going to be using a mechanical drive for the main drive (upgrade it to a 7200rpm) but the drive often works at full speed in this bay (kind of defeats the purpose though).

27th December 2012, 04:29 PM
I did a few clean installs, each time the same issue persisted sadly.

I'm getting the drive back from the shop in the mail soon, and they've updated the firmware (must have been a new one since I sent it off, since I'dd updated to the newest firmware when I had it). Will give it one more try in the MacBook Pro, and if it doesn't work there, I'll use it elsewhere, either as a Steam drive in my PC, or holding it to install in the Mac mini I will inevitably buy eventually.

I was definitely getting the 1.5Gbit link speed thingy, but it wasn't so much the bandwidth causing me problems as it was random freezing for extended periods of time.

28th December 2012, 03:49 PM
In case anyone's interested, Sandisk seem to have developed a MacBook specific firmware for their drives that were having problems with the Nvidia chipsets.

SanDisk Extreme SSD (60GB, 120GB, 240GB & 480GB): version R211m (release date: Oct 17, 2012)
R211m: For Mac OS only

Disclaimer: This firmware will configure the SSD drive to operate at SATA II/3.0Gbps and will no longer function at SATA III/6.0Gbps. The fix is only recommended for MacBook and MacBook Pros dated in 2008-2009 based on NVidia MCP79 chipset. In the event for future use you would prefer to switch back to SATA III/6.0Gbps, you will need to re-download to the standard Extreme SSD firmware.

New changes since version R201:
- Improved TRIM Latency, TRIM Performance, Background Garbage Collection, Error Handling and Power Management
- Fixed the normalized value calculation for SMART Attribute "Power-On Hours".
- Fixed an issue where temperature reading was not reporting correctly.
- Resolves a speed negotiation issue where instead of SATA II/3.0Gbps the Extreme SSD functioned at SATA I/1.5Gbps. Affected platforms are MacBook and MacBook Pros dated in 2008-2009 based on NVidia MCP79 chipset.

Known issues:
- None

Extreme SSD Firmware Release notes (http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/10127)

Hopefully this means I'll be able to actually use the drive in my MacBook as I wanted to in the first place!

28th December 2012, 04:07 PM
Now if only Corsair would release the same kind of patch for their drives. (and make them flash capable from a mac)

12th January 2013, 01:49 AM
Another update if anyone is still interested. Got the SSD back from the store, installed that firmware update on Sandisk's for my nvidia chipset, and it's working perfectly! Has made my 4 year old MacBook Pro back into a quick machine :D

Now just to max out the RAM and this thing should last me quite a while longer.

15th January 2013, 08:02 AM
After reading the thread I did exactly the same to mine and Im lovin it. I had plans to do this a while ago but @ $99 for a 120G Sandisk I couldn't say no. Also it seems by that by waiting all the bugs have been ironed out by everyone else and not me.

After reading this thread it was a painless install and Im shocked at the speed boost to be honest. Makes this 4+ year old computer feel new again. I know the latest are slicker, but its so damn hard to justify the bucks when this works so well AND looks almost the same :)

Cheers Kman

15th January 2013, 11:56 AM
Like I've been saying for a while now, SSDs are the best upgrade you can do to your computer today.

Probably why Apple now offers them as standard on almost half their machines.

17th January 2013, 06:36 PM
Not sure what you've been saying for a while as I don't get on too much. Agreed though, cheap crazy upgrade worth every cent you spend on it.


17th January 2013, 10:28 PM
I had a Patriot SSD using a Sandforce controller that would only link at 1.5gbps. Replaced it with a Crucial M4 yesterday and all works well. :)

Definitely recommend an SSD though.